Year two started with some great momentum after a great first year , but what happened during that year really took DST to a new level as we transformed from a company centered around my individual efforts into a team. During the football season, an assistant coach by the name of Pete Wilkening started hanging around the weight room and asking great questions. By the time Christmas rolled around, Pete was helping out with our after-school kids which was a huge help for me. At the time, my hands were full training a few pros ( Scott Kazmir & James Loney had joined Carl in the group) in addition to my 1-on-1 clients and a handful of college guys training over their winter break. When the calendar rolled over to 2010, it made sense to bring Pete on as DST’s first hire -- and what an amazing hire he was! Not only did he have the desire to become a better trainer through continued education, but he was also training himself through our processes as he wanted to be more effective at demonstrating and intimately knowing what he was coaching. God’s timing is always right and in this instance it was truly the catalyst to DST becoming greater than just myself.
DST’s breakout exposure came during our second year as well. ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and Buster Olney did an entire 1-hour segment on Carl Crawford’s off-season training which highlighted his physical preparation for most of the segment! With MLB spring training approaching, Carl wanted to know if I could be available to fly out to the Tampa Bay Rays ' spring training facility to make sure he was physically prepared. The demand for DST’s services increased and Pete couldn’t have been a better fit for the increased responsibility and opportunity. The patience, work ethic and dedication Pete brought to the team were instrumental in our development!
That spring also brought a college player by the name of Kevin Poppe into the training mix. It’s only now that I can reflect back on a kid who was destined for greatness. When Kevin came in for an assessment, he ended up having one of the longest lists of re-education protocols I have ever given to an athlete. I should have known the direction he was headed when he took ownership of those deficiencies -- his re-education workouts took him 40 minutes to do before his one hour lift. Without even doing a bit of speed-specific work, we were able to make a dramatic improvement in his 60-yd sprint. Little did I know, this college kid would totally change the future of DST….
The Lateral Med Ball T-Position Throw is the second exercise in our T-Position progression with our athletes. The concept is the same: to coordinate the body to be more explosive in rotation, load it. However, the amount of rotation is over a longer arc than the linear position, resulting in higher speeds and more force that must be absorbed.
THE SET UP
The athlete will set their feet wider than shoulder width and perpendicular to the wall with knees bent.
The elbow should be up and in line with the ball on the driving arm.
Fingers turned up toward the sky.
The ball should be at or just under chin height (shot put).
The athlete will rock back (limited rotation) to the side of the drive arm.
Spending as little time as possible at the end of the load, the athlete should rotate to throw the ball violently against a wall (think start throwing the ball before the load is able to stop).
Let your body follow through in rotation. If you catch the ball off the wall, back up and let it bounce to you.
Make sure that the athlete's head stays with the back hip. Often times, athletes want to lead with their head which results in poor rotational mechanics. That isn’t to say that there is no forward movement. As the hips move into the front leg, the head just rides the back hip. Focus on firming up the front leg for maximal power output.
Plyometrics involve repetitive power jumping with quick force production. When muscles lengthen, then immediately shorten, they provide maximal power for an athlete. Plyometrics are an ideal style of training for athletes looking to improve speed and power with varied intensities. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with concentric, or “muscle-shortening” contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the “stretch-shortening cycle.”So that all sounds like something a basketball player would benefit from, right? They need to be powerful and explosive when skying for a rebound, contesting a jump shot or even shooting from 3-point range. This is all true. However, basketball players get the plyometric training they need while playing their sport, so extra plyometric training in the weight room isn't necessary. More does not equal better in this instance.
Okay, so how do you fix this? Easy - practice variations. Two variations to work on are the snatch pull from the floor and the high snatch working into the catch as shown in the video. Now get to work!!
Everything athletes do - from training, to sleeping, to what they are putting in their body - are all small, important pieces to a much bigger puzzle. One vital piece is nutrition and with this month's Trigger Focus being Nutrient Density, I figured I'd address an important question: "Are all calories created equally?" The simple answer is, of course, no. To explain why, I did a comparison case study on what 3,000 calories looks like: healthy, nutrient-dense foods vs. a beloved fast food chain that starts with a 'W' and ends with 'hataburger.'
“ Don’t talk to me about recovery when you're living out of a fast food window .”
I can still hear my collegiate strength coach telling me this as though it was yesterday. He was right, my nutrition habits were trash; I was so used to eating whatever I wanted because I was young, so I thought my body could handle it. I can probably count on one hand how many of us even knew the term ‘nutrient density’ let alone what it meant. So today we are going to EQUIP you with this knowledge.
Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. A.K.A getting the “biggest bang for your buck”. Why is nutrient density so helpful? Because it gives you concentrated amounts of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients , to name a few. Adequate consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and for empowering your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms. This helps protect you from cancer and other diseases. Nutrient-dense foods also provide necessary micronutrients - which are highly overlooked - that are important co-factors in reactions that produce growth, repair tissues, and increase oxygen transport. Being deficient in this will negatively affect performance and could keep you from reaching your athletic potential.
Now let me show you the difference. 3,000 calories at Whataburger looks something like this: